Nuclear Energy and Active Citizenship: Researching

Reviewing existing information

The next step is to find out more about the issue, as seen by some of the main groups involved in the debate. ANSTO and Greenpeace both have extensive information on their websites about the benefits and dangers of nuclear technology, so that interested citizens can be informed. Each group presents the facts as they see them, backs them up with evidence, and hopes that people will accept their point of view. The ANSTO education site is very large. Topics 6 and 12 are very useful to start with, but other topics also give detailed articles on nuclear issues. The last of the three sites gives a range of resources with information about the debate. Some of the resources lean to one side or the other, and some try to show both sides. Read as many items on all the sites as you can, and consider the differences. Print out some of the most striking stories, pictures and points that you find and add them to a think board. Add extra information to your database if you can. Consider the items that other students have contributed. Keep them in mind too, as you read and begin to form your own opinion on the replacement of the reactor.

Collect data and information

Now you have looked at what people think about this particular issue, you need to focus on what they actually did about it. Governments usually work hard to make sure that their citizens are reasonably satisfied with their decisions. If they are satisfied, they will be more likely to vote for that government at the next election. If citizens are not happy though, they do have power to influence the decisions made by governments. Sometimes they can change these decisions.

Do some research and make a list of any actions taken by citizens or by government agencies. Sometimes, groups protesting against a government decision use actions that draw attention to their case, such as posters, banners and marches. Governments are more likely to hold investigations and then release information statements. All of these methods can be powerful.

Have a look at the ANSTO site, considering that ANSTO is a government organisation. What information is the organisation presenting? How is it being presented? How much evidence is given? The Reaction site is run by opponents of the reactor. Ask yourself the same questions as for the ANSTO site. What actions can ordinary citizens take that are not possible for government groups? Keep a look-out for all sorts of ways of finding out information, communicating and working together to add to your list.